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Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez created councils to advise the government on international arbitration cases and the expropriation of assets in the South American country.
Chavez, who has seized assets from 1,045 companies since coming to power in 1999 according to Venezuelan manufacturing association Conindustria, will receive a monthly report from the boards, according to two decrees published today in the Official Gazette.
The country faces about 18 arbitration cases filed by foreign companies at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, including U.S. oil companies Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips. The nationalizations have cost the government at least $9.9 billion in compensation paid to companies, while claims for $20 billion are under dispute at international courts, according to Caracas-based research firm Ecoanalitica.
The arbitration council, or Superior Council for the International Defense of the Sovereignty of Venezuela, will have seven members including the prosecutor general, vice president, foreign minister and oil minister, according to the Official Gazette.
The Superior Strategic Council for Expropriations will oversee the government’s policy of asset seizures to guarantee “efficiency” and “legality,” the second decree said. The council will have 15 members.
--Editors: Philip Sanders, Harry Maurer
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